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Archive for the category “Books”

Book Reading at Hyderabad- The Taj Conspiracy

I met Manreet Sodhi Someshwar at the Hyderabad book reading session of The Taj Conspiracy on the 12th of this month. I have been meaning to do a post on that since. But, lots of challenges cropped up on the home front needing my complete attention. Some of the excitement from the memory has died down. I still hope to capture that feeling here.

On the day of the event I logged into twitter early in the morning to check if any further details had been posted about the event. Manreet tweeted that there would be a book reading at Pune. My heart stopped for a second. I had been planning this day for the past two weeks. I quickly called Landmark, Hyderabad and they confirmed that the event was on. It had been a simple error. The Pune book reading had been the day before. What a relief!

In the evening, I walked in with both kids tagging along. My parents had kindly agreed to accompany me to help entertain the kids while I focussed on the event. I found the beautiful Manreet Sodhi Someshwar sitting with two others, chatting. All the other chairs were unoccupied. I walked up and introduced myself. She was charming and gracious. She patiently answered all my questions on writing and publishing. She advised me to keep going even when things got tough. With young children around it will be more difficult, she said. You just have to keep working.


My little girl was smitten. She wanted to know all about the dolphin bracelet that Manreet wore. Manreet’s daughter had made it for her and wanted her to wear it to all book promotional events. It was her special good luck charm.

The discussion started and I kicked myself for not completing The Taj Conspiracy as I had earlier planned. A young man in the front row had and thanks to him the discussed was evenly balanced. T.S. Sudhir asked her about the research, writing and her plans for the next book. Manreet was her eloquent best in answering all the questions. She told us that she had gotten to know Mehrunisa Khosa, the protagonist, so well in these past five years that she wanted to write more books with her in them. This book was therefore the first in a trilogy.

My daughter whispered to me asking why I didn’t hurry up and finish my book so that I could be on stage too, discussing my story. I informed her that it took Manreet five years to complete The Taj Conspiracy, conveniently leaving out the fact that my novel didn’t require as much research.

The discussion was over too soon for me. Manreet had an international flight to catch. Some people were getting their copies of the book signed. I had mine signed earlier.

Just before leaving I walked up to Manreet to say goodbye. I asked if there were plans to promote The Taj Conspiracy internationally too.

“Inshallah”, she smiled.

Manreet, for your dreams and mine, Inshallah!

Just Married Please Excuse by Yashodhara Lal- Review

“Where is the sticky stuff we make rotis with?” Y asks V after searching the kitchen cabinets for readymade dough for a botched up surprise breakfast of alu parathas.

Introducing Y, a smart professional with an MBA from one of the top institutes in the country, but unbelievably naive when it comes to domesticity. Y feels she is too young to get married and has maintained a ‘let’s wait’ stance ever since V popped the question. She says an impulsive ‘yes’ when V stands by her, stroking her hair as she is vomiting! Not very romantic when said like that. But isn’t this how love evolves in marriage? Knowing that building a life together is more than sitting around candles and roses and romance is standing through difficult times, beside the one you love. Most of the difficulties Y and V face are, however, self inflicted. Each of those ups and downs tickles and touches the heart at the same time. Yashodhara Lal beautifully marries emotion and humour and makes them work together wonderfully well.

‘Just Married, Please Excuse’ is the heartwarming story of Y and V, how they come together in holy matrimony and go through all sorts of unholy experiences that couples adjusting to new roles go through. V is poles apart from Y in most respects but his devotion to her and her childlike ways is endearing.

I love humour and most of my appreciation is shown by smiling. I rarely laugh out loud. It is probably because I am tough to impress and also because I don’t find crass ‘in your face’ humour funny at all. As I balanced JMPE in one hand and patted my baby to sleep with another, both he and I were surprised by the frequent chuckles escaping my throat. If the book could do that to me, I can safely bet that most of you will be clutching your bellies and tearing up with laughter. Even when I was not laughing, I was grinning and nodding throughout. My husband, who rarely comments on what I read, became quite curious and asked me what the book was about. Humour is extremely difficult to execute well. Yashodhara is a natural and does her job with great finesse.

All the characters in the book grow on you and stay with you long after you finish reading the 255 pages. I feel as if I have known and loved Y for a long time. My measure for great characters is how long they stay with me after I turn the last page of the book. I finished reading nearly ten days ago.  I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I think of Y.  Just like the kind you feel when you think of a friend.

You could try and win a copy by participating in the contest. Even if you don’t win, just go ahead and order your copy online. If, like me, you insist on great quality of narration and love humour, you will not regret it.

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